connect!

 photo Sans-titre-7_zpsec991bb8.jpg photo Sans-titre-7_zpsec991bb8.jpg photo about-dot_zps2e2a1cb7.jpg photo features-dot_zps8b58ad56.jpg photo faq-dot_zps99a32a66.jpg photo links-dot_zps57b147ba.jpg

serge forever.


My first week in Paris (once the profound jetlag that is coming from the States to Europe wore off), I remember sitting down at my kitchen table at La Motte Picquet and jotting down a list of places I wanted to go and things I wanted to see immediately. With Paris in my palm, I decided to kick off cette vie Parisienne with a stroll from 15th to 7th (one of my favorite walks in Paris) to M. Serge Gainsbourg's house.

My intrigue was ignited after reading a 2007 piece in Vanity Fair that documents his daughter Charlotte's wishes to keep everything in the house exactly as Serge left it when he passed away in 1991. With the exception of exploding canned food and perishables, all of his quirky toys and tchotchkes, ashtrays, paintings, Repettos, even chewing gum are exactly where he left them. Because his home is currently closed to the public (although Charlotte hopes to one day turn it into a museum), the biopic Gainsbourg (Vie héroïque) gives us a look inside and his eclectic tastes, among other facets of his incredible life. 

Seeing it in person for the first time, I got the chills. I was not expecting the volume in which his home was (and still is) memorialized by fans who pay tribute with graffiti; some of it being bona-fide street art. That first visit in 2009, the facade had sketches from Joann Sfar, the graphic novelist and director of Gainsbourg. It was months later that I recognized his work in my photos after seeing the making of the film.

I have since visited several times, each involving a little story where I have chatted with other fans who also enjoy a visit with Serge. In honor of today, his would-be 86th birthday, I revisited 5 bis Rue de Verneuil to pay homage to one "France's most beloved and important songwriter", l'homme à tête de chou....white Repettos and all. 






Along with the French classes I took in New York before I came to Paris, I supplemented my schooling with the music of Serge Gainsbourg, looking up and translating the lyrics. While this method vastly improved my vocabulary, I also learned a lot of dirty words and expressions, which of course I loved.

Here's a compilation of just a handful of my favorite songs that on any given day, I can be found rocking out to my in apartment...alone. Enjoy!

(*Fun fact: I sing this one to my cat, Charlotte. 
It totally creeps her out...and my mom.)

21 comments:

  1. Wow! He would be 86! I bet a lot of people went to pay their respects at cimetière du Montparnasse today! I always make sure to leave him a métro ticket when I go (sans petit trou, malheureusement!) My two fave Gainsbourg songs are Comic Strip and 69 année érotique:) I must say I'm also rather partial to Je t'aime moi non plus (the guy was damn cheeky;))

    Strangely enough, I have yet to pass by his former home. Will have to put that on my to-do list for next time:)

    Love the Repettos!

    (Did I tell you of the time I told someone what Je t'aime moi non plus meant in English, complete with the intentional grammatical error, and had a third guy snap back at me that I was wrong and that he knew because he had taken three years of French in high school?;))) Love it when that happens:))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! 86!!!! He's my grandfather's age! So, so, so weird! Comic strip is a goodie too. I could have kept going with this playlist, I really love most of his music. Which Je t'aime moi non plus do you prefer? The Jane or the Bardot version?

      It often surprises me that his house isn't visited more. It's super easy to find and is a cross the street from a hotel (that I actually have a story about). Apparently the museum plans are progressing, so it'll be more of an attraction once it opens. I know I'll be the first one there, Repettos and all!

      Three years of French in high school made this guy such an expert that he corrected a native speaker?! What the... I swear, people are so strange sometimes.

      Delete
    2. I prefer the Bardot version, personally:)

      The guy had no idea that French was my mother tongue until I calmly explained what Gainsbourg was trying to achieve with the grammatical error and pointed out that I was a native speaker of French… at which point Captain Fluency started looking for a quiet corner in which to faint…;)

      Delete
  2. Loved this post and you in your Repettos. A fitting tribute and thank you so much for the playlist!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Heather! I felt so Serge dressed up like him in front of his home. I tried to portray his sleazy alter-ego Gainsbarre in some of the shots, but kept laughing. Some of the outtakes are pretty awful, I look like I'm making duck lips....OK, I'm laughing again. Bon week-end!

      Delete
  3. Ah! Thanks for the tip on learning French with Serge Gainsbourg! I love your pictures.

    By the way, your short hair inspired me to ask my hair person, who deals with my really thick hair, about an undercut. I haven't done it yet, or decided I will, but I do have an appointment this Friday, so I might surprise myself. And everyone! We have really hot summers in Memphis, so short hair seems to make sense.

    Do you love, love May in Paris? I talked my husband into taking two weeks off work this May (mid to late). He hasn't had that long off ever. If I stay in the U.S., I'm contemplating a long road trip through Canyon Country around Utah and Arizona and then to California. (This was his idea.) Or maybe I'll spend the time in NYC! (I've only ever been there once in hot, hot July.) I'd love to see some of the plays in New York right now.

    But, of course, I'm also thinking about London and Paris, and worried I'll kick myself if I don't take this chance to go. I'm not where I want to be with my French, but I'm worlds ahead of where I was when I visited Paris last rainy April. Yeah, I'd probably visit London first to give the "profound jet lag" time to wear off! I'll turn 40 during the trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Madeleine,

      Thank you! I guess the idea when truly wanting to learn another language is full immersion outside of the class. So in my case, I turned to music and film to supplement my studies...even though I understood nothing!

      Good luck with your hair consultation! And if you do go through with it and it's long enough I urge you to consider donating it!

      I do love, love May in Paris (we got married here last May!) Spring is a wonderful time to see Paris! Don't get too hung up on the language. My mom comes once a month for work and doesn't speak a word, (yet she strikes up conversations with strangers on the metro, which somehow she gets away with) and she has no problem. You seem like you already have a foundation, so I think you'll be just fine.

      Oy, the jetlag really burns coming from the States. It takes me a week to fully adjust. I love it going back though, I wake up so early!!

      Wow! A trip to celebrate your 40th (congrats!!). I think Paris is calling, perhaps more than London. ; )

      Delete
    2. Thanks Mademoisella Coquine. I have my hair appointment in an hour, and I'm still thinking about going short.

      I do have a foundation in French, but got so nervous last April that I forgot how to say the simplest things, like the number 6! Last April was terrible weather in Paris when I was there, which is another reason I want a repeat. Of course, I've waited so long that the Marais apartment I had my eye on just got rented. I know hotels are more expensive, but I might go that route this time. I've never been to London, and it's so close I hate to skip it. Maybe Brugges is calling too, or instead of :)

      Oh, and I like the detail about you singing to your cat! My two cats love Billie Holiday, and hate the Duolingo French lady's voice. I have to wear headphones or one of my cats mews the whole time she's talking.

      Delete
  4. yes the shoes are great but how about a shout out for that jacket...tres chic.

    I have to confess that I know very little about Serge...other than I've heard of him..and his daughter..and his girlfriend Jane Birkin...

    will have to go on You Tube tonight and catch the Serge up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Deb!! The jacket actually has a matching shift dress that goes under. It's a 1960's business suit that I bought in a thrift shop after I got my first job in fashion. To avoid looking like Don Draper's assistant, I wear them separately with modern pieces. Thank you, again!

      I hope you enjoyed his music. I avoid his 80's stuff, it's fun but a little too cochon for my tastes, everything before, including the reggae, is pure magic...a mon avis!

      Delete
  5. Bon anniversaire to him and his legend! Your shoes are golden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merci! It was my first Repetto purchase I made in honor of him. I feel golden when I wear them. : )

      Delete
  6. Hee hee, but I bet the bad words have helped you out no end too ;o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not going to lie, they've come in handy. They don't call me coquine for nothin'!
      ; )

      Delete
  7. I love Serge, can't get enough! The next time I'm in Paris, promise to take me by his house... pretty please? x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deal! It's quite an experience! The later you go, the more fun. Fans like to show up completely wasted, blasting his music on their phones, which as you can imagine, the neighbors in this posh neighborhood just love. Hope the US is treating you well! xo.

      Delete
  8. I still don't really know Gainsbourg (shame on me). You look cute as always though, I look like a tramp who can't afford tailoring if I roll up my pant legs, how do you do it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Gwan! The pants actually come rolled up (I can never properly roll either!), they are quirky pair of jeans by an industrial brand called Stronghold, they come with removable suspenders. They are my favorite weekend pants, the denim is super soft.

      I recommend checking Serge out, start with my playlist (you can omit Charlotte Forever, I put that one in as a joke.)

      Delete
  9. I recently read the museum project was moving ahead full steam.... can't wait!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great news!! I'm dying to get in there! I love my Serge.

      Delete
  10. Hi...im planning a trip next year to paris and wanted to know if you can give me some pointers on where to stay and what to do my daughter is dying to see the Eiffel Tower she's 8. Is there a bad or good time to travel to paris any advice would be great

    ReplyDelete